The Great Pretender spans the decades-long, uneasy friendship between Hector Lassiter and Orson Welles, from the run-up to Welles’ infamous War of the Worlds “Panic Broadcast of 1938” to the set of the noir classic The Third Man and the ruins of post-war Vienna. The novel finds the actor and author in a race for a lost holy relic promising its possessor infinite power but a ghastly death if lost.
Hector and Orson’s competitors in their quest for the “Spear of Destiny” or “Holy Lance” include German occultists, members of the Third Reich, a sensuous Creole Voodoo priestess, and a strangely obsessed J. Edgar Hoover.
Drawing on dark historical legend and rich in atmosphere and character, The Great Pretender is the fourth installment in the series BookPage called “wildly inventive” and The Chicago Tribune declared the “most unusual, and readable” crime fiction “to come along in years.”
Read an excerpt from The Great Pretender
About Craig McDonald
“I’ve been a fan of McDonald’s sprawling, wildly ambitious series about Hector Lassiter, the two-fisted novelist who trucks with twentieth century luminaries, from the outset. Pretender finds Hector in pursuit of the Spear of Destiny, last seen in Hellboy and Constantine, and tangling with Nazis, witches and, most contentious of all, Orson Welles. McDonald cagily splits up the action, with Welles in full enfant terrible mode in the first half of the book—much of the story unfolds on the night of the infamous War of the Worlds broadcast in 1938—while the second takes place in the late 1940s as the filmmaker’s star is already burning out. Another entire Lassiter novel, Roll the Credits, slots in between, and I’ll be tackling that one soon enough.” —Vince Keenan
“With each of his Hector Lassiter novels, Craig McDonald has stretched his canvas wider and unfurled tales of increasingly greater resonance.” —Megan Abbott
“Reading a Hector Lassiter novel is like having a great uncle pull you aside, pour you a tumbler of rye, and tell you a story about how the 20th century ‘really’ went down.” —Duane Swierczynski
“What critics might call eclectic, and Eastern folks quirky, we Southerners call cussedness — and it’s the cornerstone of the American genius. As in: “There’s a right way, a wrong way, and my way.” You want to see how that looks on the page, pick up any of Craig McDonald’s novels. He’s built him a nice little shack out there way off all the regular roads, and he’s brewing some fine, heady stuff. Leave your money under the rock and come back in an hour.” —James Sallis
“Craig McDonald is wily, talented and – rarest of the rare – a true original. He writes melancholy poetry that actually has melancholy poets wandering around, but don’t turn your backs on them, either.” —Laura Lippman
“James Ellroy + Kerouac + Coen brothers + Tarantino = Craig McDonald” —Amazon.fr